Question:Does the Bible address the issue of abortion? Does anyone have the right to terminate the life of an unborn child? Is the fetus fully human?
Definition: Abortion is defined as the inducing of a premature delivery in order to destroy the offspring. There are three general categories of abortion: Therapeutic, which is to save the mother because of life-threatening complications with her pregnancy; Eugenic, which is motivated by the possibility of a physical or mental retardation in the unborn child; and Elective, which is for the sake of personal preference. In elective abortion, for example, there might be the desire to limit the size of one’s family for financial or emotional reasons. Abortion because of rape or incest may also fall into this category.
Arguments. Those who are opposed to abortion argue that an unborn child has the right to live, considering abortion to be immoral and the worst form of child abuse.
Pro-abortionists argue that life begins at birth, holding that the fetus is simply another organ in the mother like an appendix. They consider the physical health and right of choice of the mother as primary, arguing that abortion prevents future child abuse and should be approved in cases of incest or rape.
There are several verses in the Bible, which suggest that human life begins at conception. Job 3:3 and Psalm 51:5 indicate that Job and David were fully human at conception (cf. Psalm 139:15-16). In Luke 1:15, John the Baptist experienced the human emotion of joy while in his mother’s womb. Jeremiah was called to be a prophet of God prior to his birth (Jer. 1:5).
Life for Life. In Exodus 21:22-25, two men are fighting each other. The pregnant wife of one of the men attempts to interrupt and is injured. She then delivers her baby prematurely. The one who did this is to pay a fine to the husband. But if there is further injury to the mother or child as a result of her being struck, then a special law of retaliation is invoked. He is now penalized in a way commensurate to the injury of the mother or the child. It is clear then than the unborn child is viewed in this passage as a human being. This law of retaliation is also found in Leviticus 24:19-20 and Deuteronomy 19:21. This law was given to limit retribution to what was equitable.
Summary. The pro-abortionist view is that a fetus is not human, arguing that human life develops gradually as it is usually associated with a display of some sort of personality in the life of an infant. The biblical view is that life begins at conception. The unborn child is fully human in the womb of the mother. Personality is a psychological term and the result of humanness. A soul is fully a soul at the time of conception. Biblically, the soul is the essence of personhood. There is no gradual development of a soul into a human being.
The Bible does not support a pro-abortionist view. Abortion is condemned in that it is the taking the life of another human being. Such an act was punishable by death (Gen. 9:6).